Adopt a family for the holidays
Salvation Army urges community to help the needy

Jennifer Pritchett
Northern News Services

NNSL (Dec 02/98) - It's easy to forget there are needy families in a city known for having one of the highest average incomes in the country.

But, according to Lieut. Shellie Hirschman, who's organizing the Salvation Army adopt-a-family program this Christmas, there are dozens of families who rely on donations to get through the holidays.

"If the average income is $35,000 -- and we don't have many middle-of-the-road -- the extreme means there are poor people," she said. "But, we have many working poor who are trying to make ends meet because our cost of living is so high."

To help all people enjoy the holidays, whether they have cash or not, the Salvation Army's adopt-a-family program, for the third year in a row, provides needy families with groceries that include a turkey and all the fixings, as well as presents.

And, for $200, groups, organizations, or individuals can sponsor a family and provide them with all the niceties for the Christmas season.

"It just makes it so much nicer for them," said Hirschman.

To date, the Salvation Army has donations for 37 families, but there are more on a waiting list.

"We're still waiting for more people to come in and say this is something that they want to do," she said. "Last year, there were 60 families adopted out."

The adopt-a-family program is separate from the Salvation Army Christmas hamper, added Hirschman.

"...mostly because people wanted to help and this gives them a really good opportunity to help," she said. "And it's also a really good thing to do for the community."

Those interested in helping out can contact the Salvation Army and find out the particulars about the family they will adopt for the holidays. Cash donations are also accepted.

"We give you a profile of the family," said Hirschman. "We just give their first names so that you can personalize the gifts."

Hampers have to be dropped off at the Salvation Army by Dec. 18.